In 2011, many independent developers received letters from firms like Lodsys or Intellectual Ventures which demanded that mobile developers pay licensing fees on patents owned by those companies. Experts say the ongoing legal battles with these patent trolls are likely to continue — and intensify — in 2012.
In order to fight back, developer Mike Lee organized the Appsterdam Legal Defense Team. He said the group has been busy recently. “We took that dreaded first step of taking a demand letter from Lodsys to an attorney, going through it, and formulating a plan about what to do, stressing the need to either retain your own counsel or contact us so we can be your counsel,” Lee said.
“We also formulated a global plan by partnering with a company called ArticleOne to perform a million-seat global crowd-sourced prior art search. This, combined with donations to the Legal Defense Fund, will let us file a re-examination request, which will get everyone off the hook for a while, and hopefully end with the patents being declared invalid,” he added.
Lee encourages small mobile development firms to join Appsterdam if they want to avoid paying fees to Lodsys and others.